Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Deregulation Thirty-Sixth Report


ANNEX

LETTERS TO THE CHAIRMAN FROM MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC WRITTEN SINCE THE PUBLICATION OF THE COMMITTEE'S 9TH REPORT



Letter from Mrs J Blake, Huddersfield

I'm most concerned for the British public as much as for myself about the plans to deregulate Sunday licensing laws.

Sunday is the Lord's day and on Sundays, Christians (rightly or wrongly) remember the Lord's resurrection. (It might be wrong according to Scripture). Wrongly or rightly, it's a matter of fact that the Lord Jesus rose from the dead on a Sunday, and it was to give new life to all who believe in Him, not so people could drink themselves silly. (The best spirit is the Holy Spirit—if someone is determined to get drunk, this is the best spirit to be filled with). (Just believe in Jesus).

If people want to drink, let them do so at home, in private, where they can drink as much as they like (people who are determined to act like fish), without making public spectacles of themselves (unless it be to their spouses—those amongst them who have a spouse).

Are there drinkers of alcohol in the present government?

5 September 2000



Letter from Julia G Cooke, Bedford

I am very concerned about the Bill that is going through Parliament at the present time as regards the amendment of the Sunday Observance Act 1780 and the Licensing Act 1964.

I am interested in the protection both of the nature of Sunday as a special day and of local residents, and I was very heartened to know of the stand that you and the Select Committee have made against the determination of the Government to press ahead with the deregulation of Sunday licensing laws.

I do hope you will continue to make a stand and even harden your position to protect Sunday.

I enclose a copy of a letter I wrote earlier this year to the Home Office expressing my concern. [Not Printed]

7 September 2000



Letter from Richard Coxon, Horsham

I am very pleased about the stand you are taking against the Government's proposal to amend the Sunday Observance Act 1780 and the Licensing Act 1964 to allow dance premises to charge for admission on Sundays and sell alcohol after 10.30 pm on Sunday nights. I know that living in a built-area as I do with a pub and youth club nearby would make the neighbourhood a lot unsafer, with drunken louts about till late into the night.

I do believe also of course that the wider issue of Sunday as a day of rest is involved here. I pray therefore that Almighty God will strengthen your hands and those of the Lords Select Committee as you continue to do battle in the days ahead.

22 September 2000



Letter from Mr and Mrs W. T. Docherty, Worthing

We are sure you are as concerned as we are, over the plan for Delegated Powers and Deregulation of the Sunday Observance Act of 1780, and the Licensing Act of 1964.

It is our conviction that Sunday is a special day, and that even if New Year's Eve is on a Sunday this year, we have more than enough ways of obtaining alcohol as it is.

Our prayers will be with you, and the members of the Select Committee over this.

1 September 2000



Letter from Mark and Debra Dunstan-Sewell, Bristol

We are writing to express our concern about the Government's desire to amend the Sunday Observance Act 1780 and the Licensing Act 1964 to allow dance premises to charge for admission on Sundays and to sell alcohol after 10.30 pm on Sunday nights. Considering that New Year's Eve falls on a Sunday this year, our concern is that the Government will make an attempt at deregulation, to allow the practices outlawed by the above acts. However we would like to urge you to use your powers to prevent any deregulation and to protect the nature of Sunday as a special day, thus also protecting local residents from the nuisance of local pubs and night-clubs for one day a week.

14 September 2000



Letter from Janet and Ed Frost, Woodbridge

As Christians, we have always been keen to keep Sunday (our Sabbath) special as the Lord God requires. In the light of the Government's determination to press ahead with "deregulation" of Sunday licensing laws, we are looking to your Committee to stand firm to protect Sunday as a special day, and for the sake of local residents.

Originally these Acts, and others, were made for the good of society, and any attempt to erode them just means chaos.

"Christ or Chaos"

3 September 2000



Letter from Norman and Norma Green, Lutterworth

We understand that the Government is promoting changes to the above legislation which the Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Deregulation, which your Lordship chairs, is currently resisting.

We are concerned at the erosion of the character of Sunday as a day of rest, quiet recreation and worship and would want it to be protected, both for the benefit of the nation as a whole but especially of residents who live near to licensed premises whose lives will be affected by loosening of the licensing regulations.

We would urge you strongly to resist further deregulation in this area.

24 October 2000



Letter from John B. Harker, Bath

Considering the Christian roots of much of our British civilisation I would ask you as Chairman of the Lords Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Deregulation that you will very kindly stand firm and steadfast in protecting Sunday as a special day, including the keeping of Sunday licensing laws.

5 September 2000



Letter from Anthony J. M. Horne, Stonehaven

I wish to express my congratulations to you and your Committee in its defeat earlier this year of the Government's attempt to further deregulate Sunday observance. As a Christian, I welcome your resistance to the onslaught against one of our country's finest institutions and I urge you to stand fast in the face of future attempts to foist new legislation upon us.

Ministers, such as Mr Mike O'Brien MP, who has said that the ban on Sunday dancing is antiquated and should have gone years ago, should be reminded that One greater than he gave the commandment: "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy."

7 September 2000



Letter from D. Leeming, Nelson

I write to express my concern with regard to the proposals to deregulate the Sunday Licensing Laws.

Sunday has always been a day of rest in our nation and has been regarded as a special day. If the matter were to proceed it would mean further encroachment upon the Christian Sabbath and lead to a further breakdown in home and family life. As a former Sunday School teacher I deplore the lack of Christian ideals in the lives of young people today and if this matter were to proceed it would increase this.

5 September 2000



Letter from the Reverend D.M.B. Mathers M.A., Bury St Edmunds

Please forgive my troubling you, but in your capacity as Chairman of the Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Deregulation would you please allow me to express my gravest concern at the proposals to deregulate Sunday licensing laws. I believe it is so very important for Sunday to remain a special day in our land, a day of peace and quiet when those who live near public halls should be spared the noise and inconvenience associated with dancing and the sale of alcohol. I very much hope that the Sunday Observance Act of 1780 and the Licensing Act of 1964 will not be amended as is currently proposed.

7 September 2000



Letter from Mrs Elizabeth J Matthews, Ballymena

It is with grave concern for our nation that I view the Government's intention to deregulate Sunday licensing laws.

I fear the Sovereign Lord God's wrath when we ignore His commands regarding the keeping of His Day.

Local residents must be considered. May I ask you to use your influence in this matter?

8 September 2000



Letter from Mr J.H. Morris, Birkenhead

I am writing with regard to the recent proposal to amend the Sunday Observance Act. I know that you are the chairman of the select committee on this and I wish to record my interest in the protection of both the nature of Sunday as a special day and, in this case of the local residents in regard to the relaxation of laws in dance premises.

I am sure that the revellers can find enough time in six days to enjoy themselves in this way and I ask that you will bear my request in mind.

25 September 2000



Letter from James Pepler, Wantage

I would like to express a concern and interest in the protection both of the nature of Sunday as a special day and of local residents being able to have a day of rest.

It seems the Government is determined to press ahead with deregulation of Sunday licensing laws.

We feel it is wrong to further desecrate the Lord's Day, and hope the Churches will try to make a stand to support you.

18 September 2000



Letter from Miss M. R. Stonelake, Hailsham

I am writing to add my earnest plea that the peace and sanctity of Sunday should not be any further eroded. I understand that Her Majesty's Government is determined to deregulate the Sunday licensing laws completely, so that there will be no restriction on the opening of places of entertainment and the sale of alcohol. The fact that next New Year's Day falls on a Sunday has been cited as a compelling reason for this, the theory being that people would be deprived from celebrating adequately.

I fear that, as a country and people, diverse as we may be, we are in grave danger of bringing down on ourselves the displeasure of a holy God, who has decreed that one day in seven should be observed as a day of rest and worship. Excuses for flouting His law - one of the Ten Commandments - are lame, to say the least, and really pure defiance. Those of us who adhere to the Christian religion are extremely concerned that our God requires obedience, or we suffer His just anger. No credible religion, or sensible way of life, allows total disregard of the rules, which are formulated for the general welfare of its people, and for the smooth running of the community. So, to allow unrestrained indulgence of personal pleasure, with no regard to the interest of others, seems against all the tenets of a civilised society.

I ask you, therefore, please, to consider all the anxieties of those whom you represent in Parliament, however unpopular they may seem to the (supposed) majority, and do what you can to stem this slippage of what protection we may have left from the law of the land. I enclose a letter [Not Printed] which I wrote on the subject to Mr Mike O'Brien, which seems to have had little effect. Both letters are sent with the prayers of my church, family, and friends, as well as my own.

1 September 2000



Letter from Mrs Jean Unwin, Sheffield

I sincerely trust that you and your committee members will be able to protect both the nature of Sunday as a special day and the comfort of local residents.

The government's determination to press ahead with 'deregulation' of the Sunday licensing laws is foolhardy in my opinion.

4 September 2000



Letter from Winifred M. Woodburn, Halton

My attention has been drawn to the fact that the Select Committee have recently concluded that Local Authorities should be able to "opt-in" to have the power to license premises for Sunday dancing and the sale of liquor.

I did write to Mr Mike O'Brien MP at the Home Office in March of this year about the reform of liquor and public entertainment laws, which was apparently passed on to the liquor licensing section of the Home Office. This was of course after the leaked draft of the proposed White Paper on liquor licensing.

Now, apparently the ban on dancing is antiquated and as the New Year's Eve falls on Sunday, liquor and dancing should be allowed. I write with heartfelt anxiety for the protection of the nature of Sunday as a special Day and for the peace of local residents. In the light of the Government's determination to press ahead with the deregulation of Sunday licensing, I, and many others in our country who are saddened by the trend, will be more than grateful for your kind support against these proposals.

4 September 2000



Letter from the British Entertainment and Discotheque Association

I am writing further to the Delegated Powers and Deregulation Committee's Report into the Deregulation (Sunday Dancing and Licensing) Order 2000, published last month.

While BEDA is pleased that you chose not to reject the Government's proposals outright, we are concerned that the Committee's requirement that each local authority should have to opt-in to these proposals could either delay or even prevent reform. It remains our view that the proposals contain a number of safeguards against noise and disturbances that also distinguish Sundays from other days. Indeed as you noted in your report, some, such as the Federation of Licensed Victuallers, have suggested that the safeguards already proposed are too draconian.

We were also somewhat disappointed that the Commmittee chose not to take oral evidence from any of the supporters of reform. We believe our experience as operators in the late night industry would have given a useful perspective on the issue of necessary protection. BEDA understands that you are aware of our position from the written evidence that we submitted and we are grateful that you took time to consider those views. However, we believe that in the interests of fairness, balance and thoroughness we should have been given an opportunity to have our case heard. This is particularly disappointing given that this is the second time a Deregulation Order has been put forward to reform the laws restricting Sunday dancing and on neither occasion have any parties calling for reform been heard.

We have, of course, written to the Home Office and Cabinet Office outlining these concerns.

Despite these reservations we remain hopeful that the Home Office will come forward with proposals that Parliament will accept. As ever, we remain keen to offer any help or advice to you and your Committee may need if and when you reconsider the Government's proposals.

6 April 2000



Letter from the Clerk to BEDA

Lord Alexander of Weedon has asked me to reply to your letter of 6 April. As you said in your letter, the Committee agreed not to reject the Government's proposals outright but, in order to ensure the maintenance of necessary protection for residents, agreed to the proposal only if it were amended so that each local authority had the freedom to opt in to these proposals. It is difficult to see how this constructive solution could "either delay or even prevent reform", but if the Government were to support you in that view they would, of course, be able to drop this deregulation proposal altogether.

As I have explained in previous correspondence, and as the Committee sought to make clear in its report, the Committee did not consider it necessary to hear oral evidence from industry representatives partly because it was concerned with solely with the issue of necessary protection and partly because the views of the industry were very fully represented by the Home Office, as the transcript of the oral evidence session (part of which BEDA attended in the audience) shows. There is the further consideration that BEDA, and 61 individual members of BEDA, submitted very helpful written evidence. Had any part of that evidence been unclear - which was not the case - then the Committee might have thought it necessary to hear oral evidence within the limited timetable available.

Finally, you refer in your letter to the next stage of the parliamentary process. Both this Government and its predecessor have always implemented the Committee's recommendations for the amendment of draft Deregulation proposals, so what the Committee itself refers to as "second-stage scrutiny" is always straightforward. But in the unprecedented event of the Government choosing not to follow the Committee's recommendation on this proposal I am sure that the Committee would be happy to hear from you further.

10 April 2000


 
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